Monday, July 27, 2015

What I Learned from the CrossFit Games

Hi everyone! I hope that you all had a fantastic weekend.

Although I’m not a CrossFit athlete (I have done one WOD, if you’ll remember), I was completely enthralled with the CrossFit Games this weekend. Did anyone else watch? It’s basically a four-day event with multiple events each day with the aim of finding the world’s fittest athlete. The challenges are intense and the athletes are incredible. It was also really motivating and inspiring to watch the games, so I thought I would switch things up today and talk about some things that I learned from watching the Games! I’ll also talk about how I’ll apply these lessons to my training and running, and I hope it will also help you out as well!


By the way, as I mentioned I’m not a CrossFitter, so you might notice that I don’t use the correct terminology. Please don’t make fun of me- I’m learning!

Pain is temporary, pride is forever

CrossFit Way: As I mentioned, these challenges were tough, and a lot of the time an athlete looked like they might not finish. You could see the fire and passion in their eyes as they put every last ounce of strength into finishing the event.

My Way: During longer runs and track workouts- don’t give up. I struggle a lot with pushing through pain during the end of my training cycle, which ends up hurting me in races. As much as it might hurt at that moment, I need to remember that as soon as I finish I will feel so much better. Never give up until you cross that finish line!  This is also a great mantra to repeat during those hard miles in races, and has helped me get through to the finish line.


Shake off a bad event and move on

CrossFit Way: There were so many events in the games, with multiple events each day. I noticed one athlete have a very disappointing showing in an early event on Saturday and get very emotional when she didn't make the semi final round. Later that day, she showed up to the final event of the day and crushed everyone's time! It was inspiring to see her get over early disappointments and come back stronger than ever.

My Way: A bad race or a bad workout can really affect my mindset. If I have a bad 8 mile run weeks before a race, I start to doubt my abilities and give up on my goals. From now on, I’ll look at each run and workout as a new opportunity and forget about any bad races in the past, or the horrible run I had yesterday.


Work on your weaknesses

CrossFit Way: The Games test so many different aspects of athletes- from strength to speed to endurance and everything in between. In order to place well in the standings, athletes had to work tirelessly to improve on their weak points. For some, this might mean running extra to build endurance, or working on pull ups.

My Way: Running uses so many different muscle groups, which is why cross training is so important. In the past, my upper body was really weak, so I started to lift to get stronger. I also realized in my last race that while I’m a great hill runner and racer, I’m really weak on flat courses. That is definitely a weakness I’m going to work on, since not every race is going to be another “Marathon on the Mountain”!


Give up the good to go for the great

CrossFit Way: In a lot of the winners’ interviews, they said they would celebrate the victory with a big, healthy meal of lean protein and carbs. Most of these athletes follow a very healthy diet with little or no alcohol. For them, training is a total life commitment where every choice made can affect their training, and eventually their performance in the Games.

My Way: I’ve always loved this saying, and need to improve my diet once I’m starting to train again. As much as I love beer and unhealthy foods, I feel the best when I eliminate gluten and alcohol from my diet, so I have to adjust what I’m putting into my body to perform as best as possible.


Encouragement can make a huge difference

CrossFit Way: One of my favorite things about watching the Games was seeing everyone (especially the women) encourage each other. Not only did they celebrate together when someone crossed the finish line, but as soon as an athlete would finish, she would immediately go to another woman and cheer them on. Quite a few times, someone looked completely tired and ready to quit, but that extra encouragement helped them finish before the time cap. It was really amazing to see these athletes cheering on their competitors and making sure they finished!

My Way: During races and runs, there have been so many times when a simple “great job!” has meant the difference between stopping to walk and continuing on. Encouragement is so important, and something that I have to start paying forward to other runners!


Form is extremely important

CrossFit Way: Each athlete had a judge watching their every move. If something wasn’t done properly, the athlete would get a “no rep” and would have to repeat the exercise. Sometimes this would make the difference between someone getting first and last place in the heat. Not only is proper form important to hit all the correct muscle groups, but it’s also vital to prevent injury that happens with improper form.

My Way: Not only can proper form help prevent injury, it can also help us run more efficiently and effectively. Watching elite runners is a great way to learn correct form (especially Meb...best form EVER) and practice makes perfect. While I’m running, I try to go through different parts of my body to ensure that I’m using the best form possible. It’s also a great idea to video tape your form or take pictures to see what you’re really doing when you run.


Did anyone else watch the CrossFit Games? What did you think?


What lessons have you learned from other sports that you can apply to yourself?


Who does CrossFit? I think I need to join a box sometime in the near future...it’s such a fun and hard work out!

17 comments:

  1. I did CrossFit for three months once… and while definitely an extremely hard sport, totally not my thing. I have great respect for the mental strength these athletes have. And I really admire their commitment to fitness and overall health. I usually give up alcohol while I'm training mainly because if I drink I know there is no way I will motivate myself to run the next day. Haha. As far as diet - I'm start to clean mine up today. I definitely notice a big difference in the way I feel when I eat clean vs when I "indulge" because I ran far. Haha .I hope you have a fabulous week girl!!!

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    1. That's good to hear! I'm not sure how dedicated I would be to it but it's fun to try out the WODs. I mostly like the body weight workouts! Hope your week is good as well :)

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  2. I don't do Cross Fit either, but I did watch some of the games. It's really too intense for me, but I know what they're showing is basically the elite level of Cross Fit.

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    1. I agree! It's really intimidating what they have to do. I don't think a regular crossfit workout would be that intense, plus you can scale down the weights. The elite level is insane!

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  3. I watched a lot of the Cross Fit games this weekend too! I looooove watching these competitions.. it amazes me how strong they are, especially the women. I've never done Cross Fit because I refuse to pay that much money to work out, but it's obviously really effective for someone who wants to build a lot of muscle!

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    1. The women impressed me so much! I thought they were more fun to watch than the men in a lot of the events. I agree that it seems way too expensive..it's crazy!

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  4. Didn't watch the games either, but loved the points you outlined in your post! I need to remember "let go of the good and go for the great" :) happy Monday!

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    1. Thanks Jess! I love that saying..it has so many different meanings and is a great reminder!

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  5. I don't do cross fit but this was such an interesting read. I think that is so important, proper form can prevent so much!

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    1. I'm glad you liked it Hollie! Proper form is so important and really hard to get right. It can make a huge difference though! Something I'm always working on improving :)

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  6. I haven't tried crossfit, but I really want to. It looks like such a great workout. These are great lessons!

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    1. Hopefully you can try out one workout sometime! It's a lot of fun but tough! I felt the workout for days afterwards.

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  7. This is a great post and all so true! Love the first point especially. I, too, spent the entire weekend staring into my computer screen watching the games. Definitely need a few days off of tv-watching now. :P

    One of the great things about crossfit is related to what you experience watching the games--being a part of something larger. It's cool to have your workout be something more than just showing up at a random fitness center and logging your 30 minutes on the elliptical. I'm not a runner, but from my outsider's perspective, it seems like running has a very strong community behind it as well, as your blog and readership demonstrates. From that perspective, I'm sure you can imagine how being part of a community and culture is really fun and incredibly motivating. If you do decide to give crossfit a try, I hope you can find one that's a great fit for you. All crossfit gyms are definitely NOT created equal so don't be shy about shopping around.

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    1. Thank you so much for the comment Suzanne! It's so interesting to hear feedback from an actual CrossFit athlete. I can tell how intense the community is and I love that! Definitely one of my favorite aspects of running. I can understand how you have to find your own gym, so that's good to keep in mind. Thanks for stopping by :)

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  8. So many great takeaways, Gretchen!! :) Love this.

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    1. Thank you Tara! I'm so glad you liked it :)

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  9. Why Choose Level 4 CrossFit Seattle? Because you want to look great and feel great. And that happens here. Bonuses

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